Ghost town fears at ‘tacky’ leisure site in Chichester

The empty precinct at City Gate. C111921-1
The empty precinct at City Gate. C111921-1

With large empty buildings and criticisms that it looks ‘tacky’, residents have asked the question: is Chichester Gate Leisure Park becoming a ghost town?

There are fears the leisure park could be dying out if nothing is done to inject some life into it.

Traffic cones surround the empty Tandoori Nite restaurant, while the Fortune Inn Chinese restaurant remains closed. The former Chicago Rock and Live Lounge also closed its doors for good some time ago.

The Cineworld cinema, Lakeside Superbowl bowling alley, Frankie & Benny’s, Wetherspoons and Nando’s are still pulling in customers during weekends and some evenings.

The Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centre also draws in visitors, but residents have questioned whether all this is enough to keep it going in the future.

Pete Lambrou, a music promoter who organises gigs in the city, said Chichester Gate is now a ‘ghost town’.

He added: “It is a bit out of town I think, so you don’t get many lunchtime office meetings there.”

Alan Green, who lives next to the site at Stockbridge Road, said it would be a ‘nice wish’ if Chichester Gate was closed.

“The whole place is so tacky,” he said. “It is hardly worthy as a southern gateway to the city.”

Mr Green said the leisure park was ‘excessively busy’ when it first opened.

Vice president and acting president of the University of Chichester’s Students’ Union Cee Cee Douglas said students hardly visit Chichester Gate any more.

She said students used to go the Live Lounge before it closed.

“From our point of view, students mainly only use Chichester Gate for Nando’s or the cinema,” she added.

“We have nights here at the student union bar. For them to go all the way to Chichester Gate is a bit of a mission.”

Treasurer of the Chichester Society David Wilson said: “At the time when it first opened the then members of the society had doubts whether the developers were over-reaching themselves.

“Now that it is here, I am reluctant to see it become derelict and I hope the owners can generate some business without going to the lowest common denominator – something that attracts people to go there just to drink.

“I wouldn’t want it to become simply just a huge space with a number of places to drink at and nothing else.”

He said the complex was always intended to be for evening and weekend entertainment.

He added: “The owners would have to have a complete re-think of the function of it to draw more people down during the day. Why do people go out during the day - to go shopping.”

The Chichester Gate Leisure Park management was unavailable to comment.